1:25 p.m.

“L.O.V.E. That’s why I do it. That’s why I’ve always done it. Without love, we’re nothing.” Michael held up the peace sign as he followed his children out the door.

After a long day of rehearsal, once again, he wondered if he could really do this.

For the past eight years, promoters, lawyers, and even his own father have wanted him to hit the stage again. But what people have failed to realize is that he’s fifty years old. He was sure people knew; however, they didn’t care. When people think of a Michael Jackson Show, they expect everything that comes with it. But Michael knew with his age and the progressing health problems he’s had over the years, he just couldn’t do it.

However, with this crippling debt, Michael knew the only way for him to bring in more money and to finally purchase Wonderland, he had to do just that: perform.

Not only would these fifty shows get him everything his heart desired, but for once in a very long time, his children would be able to see him perform.

Prince, 12; Paris, 11; and Blanket, 7, knew there was something different about their father with the bodyguards, immense traveling, and recently with the new people surrounding them. They knew something was different about themselves, as they had to wear masks while out in public with their father and couldn't do what normal children their age did.

Michael had shown them photos and videos of his former self, but they never got to see it for themselves. They just knew “Daddy.”

Knowing this tour would bring him out of debt, he also told himself the main reason he was doing this tour was for his children. For them to finally get a glimpse into who he once was.

Who he is.

Who he always will be.

Michael Jackson.

“Come on, Blanket,” Michael took his youngest son by the hand and helped him into the car.

“Daddy, when will rehearsals be over? I don’t like doing this every day.” Blanket huffed as he buckled his seatbelt.

“We’ve got one more week. Then we’re moving to London for a little while.” Michael told him as he fastened his own seatbelt.

Blanket’s little mouth twisted to the side, “okay.”

In truth, Michael was feeling just like his son. Tired. The only thing was that Michael couldn’t figure out how he could possibly do this for a year. Day in and day out. But he knew he’d find a way. He always did.

Michael pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. Shortly before his security team was abruptly switched on him, Bill and Javon upgraded him to the newest iPhone 3GS. Its official release was last Friday, but Michael’s business relationship with Steve Jobs got him the latest phone before the rest of the world.

“Daddy, what are we doing when we get home?” Paris asked her father as he pressed the call button after finding his favorite contact.

He put the phone to his ear, “well, Grace has a lot planned for you all today.”

“Aww…” All three children groaned in dismay.

“Whaaat?” Michael mocked in the same tone.

Prince sucked his teeth. “We thought we were finishing movie night tonight.”


“Hey baby,” Athena’s angelic voice caressed Michael’s eardrums, causing his heart to skip a beat. A smile accompanied by a blush formed across his lips.

“Athena Joy…” Michael smiled as he called his lover by her first and middle name that he adored so much.

“Ugh…” The kids groaned. Once their father got on the phone with his girlfriend, all common sense and attention toward them were out the window.

“How was rehearsal?” Athena asked him.

“Same as it was yesterday. Blanket wanted to know how long we have to do this.”

Athena’s light laugh made Michael’s heart melt. “Aww, poor baby. It’ll all be over with soon.”

“That’s what I told him. But he’s over it.”

“I’m right there with him. I haven’t been able to see you like I want to for a while now.”

Michael sighed regretfully, “I know. I’ve missed you every second of the day…” He paused to look out the window as they passed through downtown LA. “The children will be under Grace’s care tonight. Are you free this evening?”

“I can move some things around.”

“Can I pick you up at two forty-five?”

“I’ll be ready. What are we doing?”

“I don’t know yet. Dress comfortably. I might want to take you somewhere fun.”

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